How You Can Help Others Even If You’re Social Distancing

By Jessica Swarner

March 16, 2020

Isolation can make people feel powerless, but here are some ways of helping the community from home. 

Just because the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending staying home doesn’t mean people can’t help others out during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Here are some ways Arizonans can contribute to communities across the state while practicing social distancing:

Donate to Local Causes

It’s easy to send money online to local charities, contribute to GoFundMe campaigns, or even send some money instantly through Venmo to a friend in need. 

Organizations that could use extra help right now include local food banks, which often provide meals on wheels programs and assistance to students not in school, on top of feeding low-income families and the elderly.  

Multiple Boys & Girls Clubs are also staying open during school closures to offer childcare for families who need it. While the nonprofit is receiving state funding to do so, it could use an extra boost. 

Additionally, GoFundMe has grouped together causes related to the coronavirus pandemic, including relief funds for specific countries and groups, as well as campaigns for individuals dealing with medical costs and loss of income. 

Support Local Businesses

While people staying home from restaurants, bars, and nonessential shopping is good for public health, it’s hard on businesses left with declining income due to the decrease in consumer spending. 

Many restaurants are continuing to provide delivery and takeout, which is more in line with CDC-recommended social distancing than dining in. However, some states are totally shutting down places for social gathering. 

Even if this happens in Arizona, one way to continue supporting local businesses without putting others at risk is purchasing gift cards online to use after restrictions are lifted. 

Be Generous With Tips

Speaking of delivery and takeout, anyone ordering food or beverages should be sure to generously tip staff and drivers if possible. Workers in these industries already struggle to be fairly paid, and the current loss of business adds to the anxiety. 

Gig economy workers also face a lack of benefits due to their classification as independent contractors. This means if they get sick or are forced to stay home and care for a loved one, they most likely do not receive paid time off. If someone orders something through an app or uses a rideshare service, they can make sure to pay them well

Check on Neighbors

People with underlying health conditions and older adults are at elevated risk for COVID-19. Some of them may be having difficulty getting essential items due to quarantine and loved ones not being nearby to help them. They also may have difficulty receiving care if they become sick and have no one to take them to the doctor or bring them medication. 

For people who have their neighbors’ cell phone numbers or social media handles, it may be a good idea to check in on them and see if they are okay. Posting to neighborhood social media groups or apps like NextDoor to let people know someone is thinking of them is also an option.

Shop Responsibly 

Healthy people can go one step further in checking on neighbors and offering to grocery shop or run errands for them. When grocery shopping, people should abide by quantity restrictions and only buy what’s necessary. It’s recommended to stop shopping after reaching a 30-day supply of food, medicine, and household supplies.  

People can also choose to support local farmers’ markets by picking up food there rather than grocery stores. Many are remaining open during the outbreak to provide options for fresh, local produce and other goods. 

Donate Blood

Blood banks are in critical need of donations at this time due to a dip in regular appointments because of the coronavirus pandemic. Authorities have emphasized that donating blood is still safe for healthy individuals who are not at elevated risk of coronavirus during the outbreak. 

Local blood drives can be found on the American Red Cross website.


  • Jessica Swarner

    Jessica Swarner is the community editor for The Copper Courier. She is an ASU alumna and previously worked at KTAR News 92.3 FM in Phoenix.

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